design philosophy
    A Comfortable Art

Living in a well-designed home will restructure and rebuild you. Your surroundings have a subtle yet profound impact on your emotional well being, your sense of self, and your relationships, yet much of the time we are oblivious to our context and to the effect that context has. To a certain degree, good design should allow that obliviousness, as we should be able to flow throughout our daily lives without being slapped about by the space we dwell within. But to a certain degree a well-designed home should also remind us of what we truly value—it should be able to prod us occasionally to look up from our immediate concerns, calling attention to who we are and where we are. We need comfort and at the same time we need perspective. Our home should give us both.


An Art of Continuity

Your home should be an anchor and a sanctuary in your life. The comfort and perspective it provides can be attained through a design that establishes connections between you, the past, the present, and the place. A multi-threaded continuum, or sense of continuity, is the result, and can be articulated in personal, contextual, and aesthetic terms.

    The personal:

Your home should fit you like a glove, and should also be a seamless conduit in the flow of your daily life, contributing to its ease and flux. This quality can be implemented by designing a floor plan that truly reflects you and your family’s needs, and that also has the flexibility to evolve over time, to accommodate inevitable changes and new needs. The character of the home—the materials used, the sightlines created, the colors, the aesthetic—should reflect and corroborate the homeowner’s core beliefs and values, should moreover provide ‘the missing piece’ that makes one whole again at the end of a day. Each room should be a facet of this overall character, providing different ‘angles’ of understanding in a consistent storyline.

The contextual:

We need a sense of place. When we travel, we relish the memory of those exotic locations we visited that felt ‘real’, that lived and breathed in a way that seemed more real and substantive than our humdrum lives in our home state, city, or neighborhood. Our daily lives needn’t feel like this, however—where we live is just as full of ‘real living’ as any other place. What does your neighborhood have to say about the people there, about people in general? What does it have to say about the history of this region? What was here before the neighborhood? What was the character and history of the land? Even a sprawling tract house neighborhood of nothing but California ranch homes has a story—a rich heritage harkening back to 17th century Spain. What if you are building on open land? What kind of trees, what kind of soil, what kind of rock is here? Who lived here before, and what was done here? A starkly simple white farmhouse on the prairie harkens to some old American traditions, and by its contrast with the flat land makes commentary on our imbedded cultural attitudes toward nature and our relationship with it. And by our intuitive understanding of that commentary the farmhouse looks a part of the landscape, blended and integral with it. Our sense of tradition is measured and balanced with a more layered understanding of place—both a reassurance and a perspective gained.

The aesthetic:

All aesthetics have value, and if handled well can evoke the core qualities that inspired their inception in the first place. No style should be adhered to simply for the sake of recapturing a ‘golden era’—i.e., a faux nostalgia for a time we never actually experienced. If we are instead looking to recapture the unique truth of that aesthetic—its core qualities—and work with these with an understanding that all domestic aesthetic traditions are really reflections of one common goal throughout the ages—that is, a context that brings both comfort and interest to your daily life--then we are on the path to good design. Instead of slavish obedience to a particular aesthetic, this understanding allows a sense of play in the creation, which in turn brings life and humanity to the aesthetic, and links our living present to a living past, a present now more alive in the understanding of this continuity.